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Rugged convertible notebooks in railroad safety

Samwell's versatile RUGGEDBOOK SR858 rugged convertible notebook used
in HANDWave Ultrasonic rail safety testing system

The maximum take-off weight of a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet is 875,000 pounds. That's a lot, but even a short train with just a few cars can weigh several times that much. All that weight is supported and guided by two relatively slender steel rails sitting on a bed of rocks and gravel. Put that mass in motion and you can imagine the wear and tear, and the critical importance of the railroad tracks' integrity to safety. In fact, track defects are the second leading cause of accidents in railroad accidents (the leading cause is human error). That's why rail inspection is crucial.

Fairclough Corporation Pty Ltd in Autralia is a company that does one thing, design and manufacture equipment that detects flaws in rails as accurately, easily and reliably as possible. They've been at it for almost 15 years, and their ULTRAWave and RIPWave analysis systems are second to none.

As the company expanded, they added the Centre for Advanced Transport Engineering and Research (C.A.T.E.R) to meet the growing demand for their technical research and product development. While Fairclough's initial business was simply to provide service and maintenance support for rail inspection instrumentation, they have now expanded into a comprehensive range of products and services in rail audits, systems engineering and contract rail testing.

At the core of Fairclough Corporation's business is a variety of advanced rail testing technology that analysis rails for internal and external flaws. This includes ultrasonic testing, imaging, track geometry, ground penetrating radar, and numerous other tests and technologies to determine the condition and soundness of railroad tracks.

Among the various testing systems developed by Fairclough, the CATER HANDWave U/T System is a simple, but sophisticated and powerful rail testing system that is so intuitive to use that little operator training is required. The system consists of proprietary CATER hardware and software, and a Samwell RUGGEDBOOK SR858 tablet computer wheretest data can easily be monitored, examined, exported to Microsoft Office tools, emailed, or shared with other members of the testing team.

Efficient and effective, the HANDWave looks quite simple: There's a pushcart with a collapsible frame adjustable for different gauges. There's a wheel probe with five transducers that check all parts of a rail, an RFD module for manual spot assessments, the ULTRAWave ultrasonic processing module, a battery good for about eight hours of testing between charges, a couplant bottle that looks like a scuba tank, and then there is the RUGGEDBOOK convertible notebook computer.

CATER points out that the computers selected for use in their HANDWave testing systems "include the most up-to-date components and are able to run the latest versions of Windows." CATER further states that they "choose PCs from a respected manufacturer that is able to offer international on-site support, so that problems arising from PC malfunctions can be addressed quickly."

The Samwell RUGGEDBOOK SR858 is a fully-rugged convertible notebook computer that offers a good balance of size, weight, performance and battery life. Thanks to its swivel hinge, the display can be flipped around so that the computer becomes a tablet. This provides additional flexibility and versatility. The RUGGEDBOOK SR858 has a spacious 13.3-inch touch screen with 1280 x 800 pixel resolution in the wide-format 16:10 aspect ratio. The screen is bright and provides excellent outdoor and even direct sunlight readability.

CATER HANDWave Information:

CATER webspage
HANDWave rail tester webpage
Samwell Group RUGGEDBOOK

To learn more about the ruggedized Samwell SR858 tablet computer and its many applications, email the folks at RUGGEDBOOK at And check's full analysis of the SR858.

RUGGEDBOOK Headquarters
Samwell Building
317-1, Sec. 2,
AnKang Rd., Xindian Dist.
New Taipei City 23153, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Telephone: 886-2-2214-1133
Fax: 886-2-2215-5458